CRAIG Brown has heaped praise on his younger players, despite Tuesday's humbling at Reading.

And the older players have something to look forward to as well -- thanks to their boss's self-imposed punishment.

Despite seeing his side go down 5-1 at the Madjeski Stadium, Brown praised his players: "I have to give credit to my younger players, despite the scoreline their heads never went down," he said.

"Eric Skora played well, and Tyrone Mears' goal was spectacular."

Brown has vowed to give youth a chance to shine now North End have nothing but pride to play for.

Pawel Abbott and Simon Lynch are getting regular run-outs alongside stalwart Richard Cresswell, while Tyrone Mears and Skora are figuring more and more.

Dickson Etuhu has been a regular this season, despite his tender age although speculation is growing that he could be targeted by the Premiership's big guns over the summer after being likened to Arsenal midfielder Patrick Viera.

That speculation has been fuelled by an intriguing answer from Tyrone Mears -- who has played at both Manchester City and PNE with Etuhu -- to a question posted by a fan on the club's website.

Asked if he could ask any one question to any one player, what would it be and to who, Mears replied that he would ask Dickson "if he is moving in the summer."

Meanwhile, the whole Preston squad have a decent night out to look forward to following Craig Brown's banishment to the stands for walking on to the pitch during Saturday's victory at Brighton.

The boss was enraged by a decision not to award a penalty. Brown has fined himself, by offering to pick up the tab for a players' night out.

He said: "I have told the captain to pick a night out and they can hammer the bill. It wouldn't be right for the players to cough up and the manager not to. It was only a minor indiscretion and this is my punishment."

Brown is also studying video evidence to see if Michael Jackson should have been sent off at Reading on Tuesday. He received two yellow cards, one of which Brown isn't 100 per cent sure on.

This weekend sees North End's penultimate home game of the season, at home to another high-flying team, Sheffield United.

They come to Deepdale on the back of their FA defeat by Arsenal. Manager Neil Warnock shares something in common with Brown ... both believe they have been hard done to by referees of late.

Mark Rankine is currently on loan at the Sheffield club.